In a major change of course, the Mercedes-Benz EQS flagship sedan will lead the automaker's electric-vehicle rollout in the United States, Automotive News reported Wednesday—citing Ola Kallenius, the CEO of parent company Daimler.

This reflects a complete turnaround from what was originally presented for Mercedes' electric EQ sub-brand, which was to start with high-volume and the middle-of-the-market models like the EQC, and move to compacts (EQA and EQB) that would make way for more progressive use-and-sharing models, with the larger luxury vehicles like EQS later.

The EQC crossover was also supposed to lead the EQ sub-brand in the U.S.—along with EQ Power plug-in hybrids, which were already rebranded in preparation—but that model, originally intended for a 2019 rollout with Europe, has now been delayed for the U.S. until at least 2021. Earlier comments from Mercedes-Benz indicate the EQS won't be delivered until 2022, but that timeline may have been stepped up.

The EQS effectively rethinks Mercedes' current S-Class flagship as an all-electric model—although the S-Class is expected to continue separately.

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

It was previewed by the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The concept car was powered by dual motors (one each at the front and rear), providing a combined 469 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes quoted 0-60 mph acceleration of less than 4.5 seconds, and a driving range of up to 435 miles, based on the European WLTP testing cycle.

A Mercedes-AMG performance version of the EQS is also expected to rival the Model S Plaid, Lucid Air, and Porsche Taycan.

Made from a mix of steel, aluminum, carbon fiber, and recycled materials, the concept had 350-kilowatt DC fast charging, allowing for an 80% charge in 20 minutes, Mercedes said at the time. The battery pack was supplied by fellow Daimler subsidiary Accumotive, which will supply batteries for the production EQS as well.

Mercedes has been prioritizing safety and longevity of its battery packs over maximizing driving range—although that might not result in figures that wow like Lucid's 517-mile range.

Green Car Reports has reached out to Mercedes-Benz USA for clarification on the strategy.